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What Seniors Want In A Senior Community

May 26, 2010

Morrison Senior Living, the nation’s leading food service company exclusively dedicated to providing food, nutrition and dining services to senior living communities, has unveiled the continuation of its research on the “Silent Generation” and its impact on senior living communities through case studies of 12 communities that have transformed their approach to senior living with great success. Exemplary communities are adapting by going through a major transformation in six key areas in order to meet the needs and demands of this better educated, wealthier and more diverse population segment—the “Silent Generation”—as they enter senior living communities over the next five to 10 years.

According to Morrison’s research, the six areas needed in order to make fundamental changes within the senior living sector are:

• Filtered Decisions: making all decisions through the eyes of their residents
• Resident Engagement: involving residents in the decision-making process and embracing their involvement in planning and managing the community
• Lifestyle of Choice: marketing the community as a place to live actively and flourish
• A Community Without Walls: integrating the retirement community into the greater community
• Wellness Integration: making sure there are activities that are centered around wellness
• Technology Enabled: ensuring they are prepared for this technologically savvy generation

“Our research shows that the ‘Silent Generation’ is not so silent after all,” says Kevin Svagdis, president of Morrison Senior Living. “They have vastly different attitudes, outlooks, experiences and expectations than the preceding generation and, as a result, are radically changing the way senior living communities need to operate to meet residents’ needs.”

Successful communities that have made themselves more attractive to this vibrant group of seniors have incorporated some of the following elements:

• Gyms, pools and other exercise facilities
• Computer rooms with internet access
• Restaurants and coffee shops on the property
• Recreational activities, including art and music classes
• Clothing shops and other retail establishments

These changes and a constant commitment to improvement have helped certain communities see incredible results in terms of rate of occupancy and resident satisfaction.

“Our goal,” explains Svagdis, “is to help senior living communities create a space where residents feel happy, inspired, engaged and energetic. We want give residents options in everything–from which restaurant to dine in to which pottery class to attend–because options are what they’re accustomed to and what they demand.”

About the Research
The Silent Generation research conclusions were drawn from both qualitative and quantitative research including U.S. Census Data for population and demographic information; interviews with more than 35 senior leaders in Continuing Care Retirement Communities; focus groups involving 500 residents in 28 communities around the country; client forums; an online survey completed by 150 directors of dining services in senior living communities around the United States; and information from sources specializing in senior living information.